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Without lows there would be no highs, and as yet another too long Interlull grinds to a boring halt, we face the adrenalin rush of an away trip to Liverpool. Adrenalin, this time, produced by the possibility that we might actually take something from the game, rather than the dread of another crushing, incompetent defeat.

The last time we won at Anfield our current manager was playing in our midfield, partnering Abou Diaby in what was probably the latter’s best ever game for us – a performance that still lingers in the memory but was sadly not to be repeated, due to the long term effects of the terrible leg break he suffered so early in his Arsenal career. Santi Cazorla helped us that day to a 2-0 win against a Liverpool team that included Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling. Our own team that day in full was –

Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Diaby, Arteta; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud.

It contained the two men who now run the first team and the academy – almost like somebody knew something ……

Liverpool away is supposed to be one of the games of our season but in recent years it has been spent peeping out in trepidation from behind the sofa as they have repeatedly taken us apart. But hang on, this time, if we pull off the still admittedly unlikely feat of a win, we will go above them in the table.

So what’s changed ? Are they in the throes of a crisis, or are we suddenly just brilliant ? The truth, as ever, lies somewhere in between. If we look back over the last six games, they have drawn with Brentford, Manchester City and Brighton, recorded 5-0 victories away from home against Watford and Manchester United, and lost 2-3 at West Ham.

In the same period we have beaten Tottenham, Aston Villa, Leicester and Watford, while drawing frustratingly with Brighton and Crystal Palace. A win in either of those two games would have us already level with our hosts on 22 points from the first 11 games – a remarkable recovery from our very poor but very difficult start to the season.

That recovery has not only been down to our two headline heroes either. Our summer transfer business is looking better and better by the week. Kieran Tierney should be available again for this game but in his absence, four of our playing back five were added in the summer transfer window.

Aaron Ramsdale looks an inspired signing, Takehiro and Tavares have made excellent starts, as has Ben White in forming with Gabriel our best centre back paring for a long time. Ahead of them, Thomas Partey has looked more like the player we thought we had signed from Atletico Madrid – albeit not by some distance the indestructible one – and has formed a fine partnership with Sambi Lakonga which is more mobile and forward thinking than Granit Xhaka.

Congratulations to Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Aaron Ramsdale, who all started for England on Monday night in San Marino. A clean sheet for the keeper and a goal each for the other two was a fine return. Yes, it was only San Marino, but you can only beat what’s in front of you, as the cliche goes, and it certainly won’t stop the cheaty, want away bloke from the nasty end of Seven Sisters Road adding his haul to his international total. A haul for which he seriously owes the two fine young men from the nice end of Seven Sisters Road, who provided assists and engineered penalties which he selfishly gobbled up in his quest to be regarded as England’s greatest. Ahem !

These young men, in return, are extremely well looked after and will travel north in the lap of luxury rather than having to drive themselves to Liverpool in their shiny new cars and risk having their sports wheels “borrowed” by the local youth.

Speaking of which, in surprise news, Ferrari fired their entire pit crew yesterday and replaced them with a number of young scousers, in response to a government plea to give more employment opportunities to youngsters.

This move followed a documentary on how unemployed youths from Toxteth were able to remove a complete set of car wheels in 6 seconds with no special equipment at all, whereas Ferrari’s existing crew could only do it in 8 seconds with millions of pounds worth of specialist high tech tools. It was thought to be an excellent, bold move by the Ferrari management team as most races are won and lost in the pits, giving Ferrari an advantage over every other team.

However, at the new crew’s first practice session, not only were they able to change all four wheels in under 6 seconds but, within 12 seconds, they had resprayed, re-badged and sold the car to Maclaren for 8 cases of Stella, a bag of weed and some photos of Lewis Hamilton’s girlfriend in the shower !

One of the youths, Billy, was in class at school one day when the teacher asked “who supports Liverpool ?” Everyone put their hands up except Billy. The teacher asked him who he supported and Billy said “Millwall, sir !” The teacher asked why he supported Millwall if he lived in Liverpool. Billy said “well, my mum is from south London and she supports Millwall, and my dad is from south London and he supports Millwall, so I support Millwall too.” The teacher said “I see, but you can’t just go through life doing everything because your parents do it. For example, what would you do if your mum was a prostitute and your dad was a burglar ?” “Well” Billy said, “then I’d support Liverpool like you c*nts !”

Some would doubtless wish to defend the virtues of the scousers, but it can’t just be coincidence that Liverpool has been stripped of its World Heritage Status, as seen here …..

Anyway, the teams.

There have been a number of reports of injuries coming out of Liverpool this week, some complicated by the events of the latest Interlull, some not. The latest information I can find, from a site called LFC Transfer Room, quotes Juergen Klopp as follows –

Sadio Mane has a bruised rib, but is fine. Andy Robertson was thought to be out but apparently “there’s a good chance that he can be involved”. Jordan Henderson is “a little bit more injured than Robbo, but has a chance for the weekend”. On the other hand, Joe Gomez, Naby Keita, James Milner, Roberto Firminho and Curtis Jones are all out.

That’s quite the injury list for Liverpool and in sharp contrast to that, and generally our own injury situation in recent years, Arsenal approach this game with an almost clean bill of health. The only two players unavailable this weekend are Saed Kolasinac, who sustained a nasty ankle injury playing for Bosnia and Herzegovina during the international break, and Granit Xhaka who suffered a medial knee ligament injury at the end of September and is not expected back in full training until January. Quiet at the back !

I would expect Mikel Arteta to continue his minimal change policy of recent weeks and go with the following line up –


Takehiro, White, Gabriel, Tierney ;

Smith-Rowe, Lakonga (or AMN), Partey, Saka;

Odegaard (or Lacazette), Aubameyang;

The Holic Pound

Despite the injury news and our proximity in the league table, the bookies don’t seem to think we have that much of a chance. Paddy Power have Liverpool to win at 4/9, the draw at 7/2 and an Arsenal win at 11/2.

Coral are only offering 11/8 for Liverpool to score three or more times against us, 1/2 for a Liverpool win, 18/5 for it to end in a draw, and also 11/2 against an Arsenal victory.

There you go Mikel, stick that on the dressing room wall – team talk done !

Kick off is on Saturday 20 November at 17.30 UK time and is on Sky Sports.

The referee is Michael Oliver, fourth official is Andy Madley, and the VAR will be Chris Kavanagh, who even has an assistant, don’t you know – one Sian Massey-Ellis. I’m sure they are all very, very nice people and hope they read this blog !

That grainy old photograph is of Russian-American 1950s film and stage star, Yul Brynner, most famous for his role in The King And I. He was a life long Liverpool fan and despite his bald, clean shaven look, as Liverpool fans well know, he never wore aftershave in his life.

That’s right – Yul never wore cologne !

Enjoy, ‘Holics !

34 Drinks to “Here We Goooooo – Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe !”

  1. 1
    TTG says:

    Eh Wack ! How dare you libel us Scousers .Some great joke recycling there.
    Great preview Trev . I don’t think we can win but a draw is a possibility although I suspect we may go in without Partey or Auba . I suspect if that is the case we will see Odegaard and AMN deputising .
    I’d bite your hand off for 1-1 ( a high risk in Toxteth)
    The idea that if we win we’d be above a very good team shows the progress we have made

  2. 2
    ClockEndRider says:

    Excellent preview, Trev, along with some top drawer Scouser jokes. As ever, more than a kernel of truth there.
    Wholly unsurprised that the list of Liverpool’s sick lame and lazy has miraculously shortened in advance of the game. Personally, I would be happy with a draw and a performance.

  3. 3
    Countryman100 says:

    Great and very funny preview Trev. I’ll be making the eight hour round trip to Anfield together with my son, who has never been there before. I like Liverpool as a city, although Bootle/Anfield are not its finest area. Our seats are, as usual, “restricted view”. Although a positive soul usually I will confess to travelling more in hope than expectation. I would be ecstatic with a point.

  4. 4
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Trev, please tell us what you really think about Liverpool!

    Great preview, and back to your puntastic (yes yes a very cliched, and no longer new, neologism) form… 🙂

    Partey seems to be out. Might we see a slight modification to the starting line-up with Emile positioned more centrally ahead of Sambi-AMN, Saka on the right, Auba down the middle, and one well-rested (no international traveling) and raring to go Gabriel Martinelli on the left to press and harass the ‘Pool defense?

  5. 5
    Sancho Panza says:

    Cheers for the preview.

    I might add if Billy’s mum was a prostitute and his dad a burglar supporting Millwall might be no surprise either.

    0-2 to the good guys.

  6. 6
    scruzgooner says:

    those two chaps in soaking give a new slant to the idea of liverpool, i will say. no wonder the kids aren’t dressed to join them. yeesh.

    thanks, trev, that was a wonderful read. poor billy is surrounded by c*nts everywhere he goes, home or away.

    i’ll take the 11-2 for an arsenal win, please. your lineup and its variations are sound, and i think we may surprise this lot up norf.

  7. 7
    Bathgooner says:

    Nice one Trev.

    Sadly, as TTG alludes, it appears that we have doubts over Auba and Partey. Whoever we play needs to be 100% fit and highly committed. I think the rest of the team will bepretty much as you propose. If Auba is not fit, I wonder if we might see Tavares wide left in midfield in front of Tierney and alongside Sambi and Partey/AMN with Laca in the middle up front, ESR in an ‘inside left’ position and Saka on the right.

    Like others, I would happily take the draw now but deep down I have a flickering hope that on recent form this Arsenal team can get our first win ar Anfield in what seems like aeons. It is indeed the hope that kills you. I should know better by now!

  8. 8
    Silly Second Yella says:

    klopp ’em

  9. 9
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers Trev. Good stuff.

    I’m with Scruz. 11-2 to the Arsenal, please.

  10. 10
    bt8 says:

    Cheers, Trev. Great preview, great humor and highly evocative in more ways than one. 👍🏼

  11. 11
    Las says:

    Cheers Trev, what a preview! I laughed my head of 🙂
    I loved that team with Diaby before the leg brake and especially Cazorla. I do believe that if he did not get that achilles injury we could have won the PL in front of Leicester.
    As for the tomorrow game I don’t know… I fancy Arsenal getting a surprise result in Anfield. 11-2 if you ask me.
    I hope Auba will make the bench if we need him.

  12. 12
    bt8 says:

    I remember vividly Diaby’s masterful performance against Liverpool. As Stewart Houston seems to like to say, different class. What a player, and what a pity we didn’t get to see more of him at his best.

  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cracking preview, Trev.

    A point and a performance would be a good evening’s work.

  14. 14
    OsakaMatt says:

    Cheers Trev, hope the team stands up
    as well as the jokes😉
    Tough test for the new defence but also
    a bit of a free hit really – if we get beat
    then we’re a ‘work in progress’.
    I think KT will have to come back as
    taking care of Salah is a big ask for
    Nuno at this stage. But we do have
    a fair chance as they haven’t been
    great defensively this season.
    3-1 to The Arsenal.

  15. 15
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    That Diaby performance is haunting.

    That day he was like Paddy in his pomp. Seriously, PV4 never dominated a match at Anfield like Diaby did that day. It was one of the best midfield performances I have ever seen.

    It was like watching a match from an alternate Universe. For one game only, our world collided with another one in which Dan Smith found an outlet for his agricultural tendencies as a beetroot farmer, and an uninjured Diaby monstered us to successive league titles.

    A career utterly ruined by a filthy tackle. A crying shame.

  16. 16
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers for the Platt replies in the last drinks everyone.

    I remember him much more as a pre-Arsene player than part of the first double side. And I remember being pretty excited when we signed him. Apparently he scored 13 goals for us. That seems low to me – my young memory seems to have invented a few more!

    I thought it was a bit of a coup when we signed him, and he was a good player for us. As others noted though, perhaps he was just overtaken in midfield by a new look side that was better than he was.

    We should have signed him a couple of years earlier!

    Still, I always liked him. Still do.

  17. 17
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    As ever, I am with TTG on Xhaka. He can get in the bin.

    I hope he doesn’t get his place back in January, and if he does I hope Arteta finally realises what he brings to the team when we start conceding more goals whilst scoring less and earning less points.

  18. 18
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Unusually, however, I am not with TTG on Saliba. I think he will be back next year, third choice CB, and will get plenty of game time.

    Arteta is gonna Foden the hell out of him and Martinelli. It is gonna be frustrating, especially as Saka and ESR go great guns. But players need different things as they mature. Gabi must be held back from burnout.

    Saliba, on the other hand, needs a bit of protection. He could hardly replace Koscielny as our first choice CB. If he had been I the squad but not replaced instead Mustafi then people would have written him off without seeing him. And he was too raw to be thrown in at the deep end like that. We have been sacrificing defenders on the alter of our porous midfield for years.

    When he comes back next summer we will have White and Gabriel as the clear first choice pairing, and Saliba (with many more first team games under his belt) can be brought into the team in a much more measured way that gives him a chance to be a success for years (and a vision and a reason to sign a new contract)

  19. 19
    Uplympian says:

    Cheers Trev for a thorough and amusing preview to lull us out of the interlull.
    I suspect we will under sustained pressure for much of the match and it will be a good test to see how much the team has developed since the poor start to the season. I would expect KT to start ahead of NT. His performances this season though have been below the superb form of the previous season and the defensive part of his game is not his strongest. It will be a fascinating match up against Salah. Hoping TP will be fit enough to play, he will add that little extra in the midfield that his accomplices lack.
    I will be happy if we give the scousers a proper match – a draw would be very acceptable and a win would be ecstatic.

  20. 20
    Pangloss says:

    I’m with upply.

    I’m hoping for a performance, and I’m a little more confident tat we will get one than in recent seasons. I feel that if both teams play to their potential we are likely to come away at the wrong end of a pretty close game.

    However, I also feel – and this is a barely-remembered and very welcome feeling – that we are very likely to perform at or near our best; I don’t follow Liverpoo sufficiently closely to have any idea how close to their potential they will play. I don’t read the press coverage for other teams, but judging by the headlines, and the tone of the quotes I’ve seen from Jürgen Klopp I wouldn’t be surprised if the Scousers didn’t turn out to be a little further from their best than Our Boys.

    So, with head strictly over heart, I anticipate a narrow defeat, but allowing the heart some influence I think a draw is quite likely and a win for the good guys is a possibility. I believe I’d rate the results as 50% : 45% : 5%.



  21. 21
    bt8 says:

    Come on PG’s 5%

  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    Maguire just keeps on giving

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares
    Saka, Thomas, Lokonga, Smith Rowe,
    Lacazette, Aubameyang

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bench: Leno, Tierney, Odegaard, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Cedric, Pepe, Elneny, Martinelli

  25. 25
    Trev says:

    Cheers all !

    Glad if it raised a chuckle.

    Now Come on you Redddssss ! Or Yellows 😳

  26. 26
    OsakaMatt says:

    Show of faith in Nuno from MA, good to see Thomas and Auba fit to start.

  27. 27
    OsakaMatt says:

    Tough half but still in it at 1-0.
    Aaron brilliant!

  28. 28
    Las says:

    Today is not the day 🙁
    And this L’pool is good…
    But we should and could have played with more determination

  29. 29
    Silly Second Yella says:

    “hope the team stands up as well as the jokes”

  30. 30
    North Bank Ned says:

    The table doesn’t lie. We are probably as good or better than the 15 clubs beneath us but well short of the four above. If we are still fifth at the end of the season, that will progress.

    I was talking to a Liverpool fan after the game who said you don’t want to play them on the bounceback from a loss. We’ve got to bounce back in a similar style against Newcastle.

  31. 31
    OsakaMatt says:

    Tough defeat for the team, we just
    weren’t good enough 2nd half and
    the inexperience showed. But we
    have shown some character in adversity
    already this season and we will need
    it again now. COYGS!

  32. 32
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    We do always seem to play the very best version of a Liverpool team. They never have an off day against us – they are just well up for it. Even that game we won at home we got battered!

    I’m not too worried about the result though (although Mane and Jota are both incredibly snide, unlikeable players that o hate to see score).

    There were a few mistakes from a young side against a bloody good team. It happens. How we react will be more important.


  33. 33
    Bathgooner says:

    A very disappointing second half.

    I couldn’t agree more, GSD @32 – though I would emphasise that how we react will be vital.

  34. 34
    Bathgooner says:


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